The NY Times has a beautiful story about "The Castle" -- a new 59-bed center on the western edge of Harlem, run by the Fortune Society. They are a pretty fabulous organization that provides services to people that have served time in jail to help them re-join society. I heard about them after they helped the brother of a friend, and I highly recommend supporting them.
The place is the first of its kind in the country to accept men and women leaving prison with no strings attached, its owners say the jobless, the homeless, drug addicts and AIDS patients, those with no family or no prospects, those with nowhere else to go.
"We've known for years that housing was a desperate need," said JoAnne Page, the executive director of the Fortune Society, an inmate advocacy group that owns and operates the Castle. "People are coming home, and the question is whether they'll come as a resource or a risk."
Now, the neo-Gothic facade has been restored and the rooms are furnished with captain's beds and blond wood dressers. Pass-card locks have been installed on every door. The interior color scheme is a palette of whites and soft, pale greens. It was selected by an expert in feng shui, the Chinese art of design.
"We tried to do this beautiful because beautiful matters," Ms. Page said. "Beautiful tells people they matter."